Towards ‘biliteracy and trilingualism’ in Hong Kong (SAR): problems, dilemmas, and stakeholders’ views

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic research


In this chapter, we will first briefly discuss how the Hong Kong SAR government’s language policy of ‘biliteracy and trilingualism’ is shaped by socioeconomic realities. We will then examine two issues: (a) a language learning environment which is not conducive to the Cantonese-L1 Hongkongers’ acquisition of English and Putonghua, including a brief discussion of the status of English in Hong Kong as a second or foreign language; and (b) the social tension between Cantonese, English and Putonghua in the education domain, as epitomized in various concerns of different stakeholder groups regarding the controversial medium-of-instruction (MoI) debate: the Hong Kong government, employers, parents, school principals, teachers and educationists, and students. Our purpose is to elucidate the challenge faced by Hong Kong language policymakers and the key stakeholders involved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual Hong Kong : languages, literacies and identities
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783319441955
ISBN (Print)9783319441931
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMultilingual Education
ISSN (Print)2213-3208


  • Medium of instruction
  • Biliteracy and trilingualism
  • Mother tongue education
  • Dual MoI streaming policy
  • Fine-tuning policy
  • Linguistic capital
  • EFL
  • ESL
  • Second language
  • Foreign language


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